In the early phase of the movement for authentic period practice, Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert were practically household names – in early music households, anyway – because of their critically acclaimed performances of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and other Baroque composers. These exciting recordings of the Brandenburg Concertos, the orchestral suites, the harpsichord concertos, the violin concertos, and concertos for various instruments were made between 1979 and 1984, so they are a mix of ADD and DDD recordings.
Bach’s harpsichord concertos are arguably the first in the history of music designed specifically for this instrument. Composing them, Bach aimed to adapt the string writing of Italian instrumental concertos to a keyboard instrument, while simultaneously enriching this style with typically-German traits such as counterpoint and motivic development. Francesco Corti and il pomo d’oro present concertos BWV 1052, 1053, 1055 and 1058 as the first volume of what should become a cycle spanning four albums. Corti has chosen to combine these four concertos for the full orchestral sound they call for, while later recordings in this series will have a chamber setting in comparison. For tempo choices and melodic variations, Corti has been inspired by treatises from Bach’s time, as well as the composer’s own written-out ornamentations.
This disc offers balanced repertoire, virtuosic performances, life-like sound, and beautiful cover reproduction. As in the previous three recordings of Bach's concertos by Café Zimmermann, the program here balances soloists and tonalities for maximum effectiveness. The disc starts with the moving Violin Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041; follows it with the cheerful Concerto for two harpsichords in C major, BWV 1061; follows that with melancholy in the Concerto for flute, violin and harpsichord in A minor, BWV 1044; and concludes with the joyous Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 for trumpet, recorder, oboe and violin in F major (BWV 1047).
Michala Petri is one of few recorder players in the world to manage making a highly successful career as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber player. She often appears in concert with her husband, Lars Hannibal, a guitarist and lutenist. Petri's repertory is extensive, especially in the Baroque realm with works by J.S. Bach, Telemann, Vivaldi, Handel, Corelli, Sammartini, and many others.
Brilliant Classics embarked on a daring project in the year 2000, the year of the 250th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach's death: this budget label decided to release a complete set of Bach's works. They were not the only label to do so - Teldec and Haenssler both did as well - but the Brilliant Classics set stands out for several reasons. First, they attempted (though did not fully succeed) to create a complete set entirely recorded on period instruments, using historically informed performances.